About 20 years ago the term “personal trainer” became part of our society’s vernacular and the title meant something positive. However, the latest steroid scandal, with an unqualified and uncertified personal trainer who is a half-assed “bodybuilder/fitness model,” sullies the reputations of all of the legit fitness professionals out there.
As the fitness industry has grown over the past two decades, the term personal trainer has lost much of its luster, as anyone who has ever worked out regularly thinks that they are qualified to tell other people how to train. For some reason there is this perception that because a person spends time in a gym, looks good and/or is “big,” they are A) qualified to be a fitness expert, or B) considered to be a fitness expert. Over the past 20 years I have seen way too many unqualified “trainers” take this path.
Unfortunately, there are too many gyms that are willing to employ these types as personal trainers after having them undergo a substandard, two-day training seminar. After all, fitness is big business and real qualified trainers are hard to find and expensive. The vast majority of gyms can’t afford to pay the going rate for qualified trainers, so they offer cut-rate prices for a cut-rate service.
The high school steroid scandal in Hanover Park, New Jersey serves as the perfect illustration of the misconception that exists regarding what passes for a fitness professional these days.
At the center of this scandal is a bodybuilder who possesses no valid qualifications or certifications to work as a personal trainer, yet works at a gym as a trainer and was able to get a volunteer position in a high school football program in large part because he weighs 245 pounds. Here we have yet another “personal trainer/fitness model” whose idea of fitness is based on the drug-addled abomination known as bodybuilding.
Which brings up another point that needs to be made clear; bodybuilders are not athletes, know nothing about athletics or athletes, and should be kept as far away as possible from legitimate athletes. Bodybuilding has nothing to do with health, fitness, performance or any other of the legitimate concerns of true sport and competition. Bodybuilding is an activity that is based on looking a certain way and has nothing to do with performance in any meaningful athletic sense.
Bodybuilders are the cockroaches of the athletic world. Just like the Periplaneta Americana, bodybuilders operate under the cover of darkness and usually go scurrying when light is shined upon them. Where the American Cockroach gains entry by accessing cracks in a building’s foundation, the drug-using American Bodybuilder – Gymrattius Americana – insinuate themselves into the athletic world by preying on the ignorance and insecurities of the unsuspecting, or by exploiting those who will do anything to succeed.
Every major steroid/performance enhancing drug scandal involves bodybuilders.
There are a lot of legit personal trainers out there who know what they are doing; certified, qualified, experienced professionals who know that the key to health, fitness, better performance and all of that jazz doesn’t reside in a pill bottle or a vial and syringe. Personal trainers certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) are among the most qualified fitness professionals in the industry and receive the highest level of instruction and continuing education in order to become – and stay – certified.
People need to realize that the big guy or the hot girl at the local gym isn’t qualified in any way to be a personal trainer strictly by virtue of their appearance. The general public needs to be made aware that there are many great personal trainers – and other more qualified fitness professionals – out here that are waiting to help.
Hopefully, scandals like the one unfolding in New Jersey will encourage people to seek out qualified personal trainers and not just consider the real professionals in the same group as the poseurs, dilettantes and bodybuilders at the center of these scandals.